Decision aimed at preventing pro-EU lawmakers from blocking no-deal Brexit.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved to suspend the British parliament for at least a month. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved this request, allowing for a suspension until October 14.
The decision comes as pro-EU Members of Parliament (MPs) are lobbying to prevent a possible no-deal Brexit.
The lawmakers opposed to Brexit have been rallying support to pass a bill forcing the government to seek an extension to the October 31 deadline, and call for a second referendum. On Tuesday, some 160 lawmakers from various parties signed the so-called ‘Church House deceleration’ vowing to “do whatever necessary” to stop no-deal Brexit.
Prime Minister Johnson denied that he was shutting down the parliament to prevent a debate.
“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 Summit in Parliament for MPs to debate the EU, Brexit and all the other issues,” he said.
A group of 70 lawmakers has filed a court petition challenging the government’s decision.
The EU criticized the development, with EU parliament’s representative on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt, calling it a “sinister” move. “EU officials said it heightened the chances of a no-deal outcome,” the leftist British newspaper The Guardian reported.
British newspaper The Independent explained how the suspension might sideline pro-EU lawmakers from blocking no-deal Brexit:
If any MPs doubted Boris Johnson’s determination to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October, they will not do so now. The prime minister has dramatically announced he will stage a Queen’s speech on 14 October. It is an attempt to deprive MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit of the oxygen they need to pass a law forcing Johnson to seek an extension of the UK’s EU membership.
The number of Commons sitting days for that process is suddenly reduced. After a short sitting of about a week from next Tuesday, 3 September, MPs were due to return on 7 October after a three-week break for the annual party conferences. Instead, Boris will suspend parliament around 10-12 September. It will not resume until the Queen’s Speech, which will be followed by several days of debate on the measures included in it lasting until October 21-22.
That will leave a tiny window of opportunity for the Commons and Lords to pass a law to prevent no deal by 31 October. Probably an impossibly small one.
Recently, Johnson accused pro-EU lawmakers of ‘collaborating’ with Brussels to prevent Brexit. “There’s a terrible collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” he said on August 14.
The news comes as a big blow to Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party. He has been trying to win over pro-EU Conservative MPs to oust Johnson’s government and install himself as the leader of a caretaker government. “I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit,” Corbyn said.
The decision shocked the media commentators as well. “Opponents of a no-deal Brexit just got royally outflanked,” CNN admitted. “With Brexit Gambit, Boris Johnson Reveals a Ruthless Side,” the headline in the New York Times said. UK newspaper Daily Telegraph was more sober in its analysis, reminding that: “Johnson [was] giving Remainers a taste of their own medicine.”
President Donald Trump praised the move on Twitter, describing PM Johnson as “exactly” the kind of leader “the U.K. has been looking.”
Would be very hard for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, to seek a no-confidence vote against New Prime Minister Boris Johnson, especially in light of the fact that Boris is exactly what the U.K. has been looking for, & will prove to be “a great one!” Love U.K.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
Johnson’s bold decision shows his determination to deliver Brexit. He is using constitutional means at his disposal to fulfill the wishes of the people expressed in the June 2016 referendum.
The prime minister faces a few tough weeks ahead. The hostile EU has stalled every effort to deliver a clean Brexit. The establishment politicians in the UK continue to do Brussels’s bidding. The next sixty days will decide if the UK will regain its lost sovereignty or accept its status as the 28th state of the European Union.
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